One of the many projects that I have started over and over is the review of episodes. Throughout my home I likely have several drafts of these attempts, but here is one that stuck with me. Since I am getting a few hits here and there for this blog, I thought I would allow you some input as to which episodes you would like me to start with. You can ask for a specific episode or a season from any of the series. If you want me to start with a specific series, or a group of episodes in a story arc. Is there a certain character you would like focused on first, or maybe some significant moments that arch between series? Do you want me to start with the best of the best, or begin with the bottom of the barrel? I have all episodes on DVD, so ask away.
Also, I would love to have these sort of posts be more collaborative. I would relish the opportunity to have other people, using the same criteria, rank the same episode, giving a bit of debate, as it were. I've reached out to a couple, and I promise I will do all I can to make this as low-stress as possible. Let me know if you are interested.
In the meantime, here is the scoring system I plan on using.
I will give each episode an overall ranking of how the episode stands on its own as an episode of television. This will be out of ten (10) points. Then, to make things a bit interesting, three bonus points will be given in five categories (total of 15 bonus points) for a grand maximum of 25 points. The five categories are as follows:
- Relevance – how relevant is this episode in Trek lore and culture? For each element or factor of the show that is deemed “relevant”, one point will be given, for a maximum of three points. This will include things like foreshadowing of important Trek events (e.g. when the Dominion is foreshadowed before it is revealed in DS9 Season 1 and 2), reference to past significant events from other episodes or movies (e.g. Data referring to his relationship with Tasha while he was on trial), introduction of a significant recurring character (first appearance of Rom, Seska, or Shran, for example) or important character references.
- Continuity – this category will assign bonus points for the episode keeping continuity in three ways (one point each): Trek universe continuity (Vulcans having green blood), character continuity (Data’s inability to use contractions), and story continuity (Kahn was a result of 20th century genetics). If there is an inconsistency in one of those areas, it will negate any points given for that area.
- Character development – one of Trek’s strengths lays in character development. To score one point, a major character has some development. To score two points, a major character has significant development, or more than one major character has some development. To score the full three points, more than one major character has significant development. Significant development would include things like a dramatic change in their life that will have a defining impact on the character development in the future (e.g. Picard’s assimilation by the Borg or T’Pol’s marriage).
- Societal commentary – Trek was also at its best when it spoke to things that were presently happening in society. One to three points will be given based on how strong and relevant the commentary is and its enduring features. Hippies rocking out with Spock is not very relevant today, but racism discussed in “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield” is enduring.
- Cool factor – up to three bonus points awarded for three really cool things, which could include any of the following: special guest star (Q, crossover characters, historical figures represented, etc), great special effects (must be time considerate, so the Original Series can get a bit of a break to using 1960s effects instead of comparing them to the most updated Trek series), neat story ideas (must be original), epic moments (could include major space battles, Alice Krige as the Borg Queen on Voyager, etc), or anything else that is just plain AWESOME about that episode.
Once the score is calculated, the episode will be given a rank.
- Admiral – Score: 21-25 points. These episodes are the best of the best. If you are referring to a given series, these are the episodes that could not and should not be missed.
- Captain – Score 16-20 points. These are excellent episodes that merit viewing by even casual fans. They will quite often contain important story lines, vital character development, or notable events.
- Lieutenant – Score 11-15 points. These episodes are your fairly decent ones. They may contain significant plot points or character development, but are lacking in the story telling department. They might be really good T.V. episodes that just do not mean a whole lot to the overall Trek universe. Fans should watch them, but if you can only pick 35 episodes to watch from a particular series, these would likely not make the cut.
- Ensign – Score 6-10 points. These will be weak episodes that tend to have redeeming qualities. Some may find them entertaining, many will find them forgettable, and a few will find them embarrassing.
- Crewman – Score 0-5 points. Every barrel, even Trek, has a bottom, and that is where these episodes are found. Alas, there will be a few episodes that earn this dubious distinction. No show is perfect, right?